IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa women’s soccer team battled Missouri to a 0-0 draw in its season opener Friday night at the Iowa Soccer Complex.
The Tigers opened the game strong as they controlled the tempo in the early going. A header from Cassidy Nurnberger was saved by Iowa goalkeeper Claire Graves, keeping the game scoreless.
Iowa’s Bianca Acuario put a shot on goal in the 27th minute, but keeper Mercedes Sapp made the save for Missouri. The Hawkeyes gained control in the final 10 minutes of the first half with Natalie Winters putting a late shot on goal.
In the second half, Iowa maintained control with a shot just 10 minutes in from Isabella Blackman that was blocked in front of the net. Senior Rose Ripslinger had a chance to give Iowa the lead in the 79th minute, but Sapp was again up to the challenge.
After playing to a stalemate in the first overtime, Iowa had a free kick early in the second frame, but Natalie Winters’ attempt was right at Sapp.
- Graves made six saves to earn her 12th career shutout.
- Three Hawkeyes — Morgan Kemerling, Hannah Drkulec, and Sara Wheaton — went the distance, playing all 110 minutes.
- Winters took six shots, putting three on goal.
- Five newcomers — Riley Whitaker, Bianca Acuario, Hailey Rydberg, Sara Wheaton, and Olivia Hellweg – made their first career starts, while Skylar Alward and Riley Burns also made their Hawkeye debuts.
QUOTING HEAD COACH DAVE DIIANNI
“It was a slow start for us. We knew they were athletic and were going to put pressure on us, but it was a lot of self-induced turnovers. As we got in to the game, we created probably the two best chances. As we got on in the game, in the second half and overtime, we couldn’t get a handle on the ball in the midfield.”
“We couldn’t get enough of a position to be able to open the game back up and create a few more chances, but we competed hard. I’m proud of our girls for getting a point. Last year, we didn’t tie a game or we gave a few of these up. I think it is a benefit all the way around.”
The Hawkeyes will face Creighton at 1 p.m. (CT) on Sunday at the Iowa Soccer Complex. Admission is free.
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